Monday, 19 September 2011

Lantern Pike/I still haven't run the Stanage Struggle...

In need of another result to register my 6th counter in the Pennine Club Championship I headed down to Sheffield for the weekend to take in the Lantern Pike and Stanage Struggle races.

Considering it was the first day of Freshers' week I managed to persuade a whole car of my former ShUOC colleagues to come over the Pennines for Lantern Pike. We left Sheffield with blue skys and a favourable fuel economy; we arrived in Hayfield to pissing rain, much less fuel than I'd hoped and a rather sick Alex who was evidently doing freshers' properly!

I helped marshal the kids' races, pulled off a quick change and by the time we were ready to start the sun had come out. I had that nauseous/nervous feeling where you don't know if it's because you're feeling good or you've not eaten enough before a race and are sickening for something.

Off we went after a few words and no-one seemed to be taking it on - I was cruising with no-one in front of me. I was eventually joined by James Wood (Congleton), Kristian Edwards and a Springfield guy and we headed up to Matley Moor farm 4 abreast. Near the top I was gapped a little, but dug in to stick with them, and I lead as we passed Des at the top of the first descent.

You can just see the 4 of us at the front. Photo courtesy of ShaunP, Glossopdale.
Over the stile I've been over many times and onto the narrow slippery path. I head a curse as one of the other 3 evidently slipped on the stile. Knowing that it's impossible to pass on this section I kept it fast but safe on the slippy, well hidden stones. As I was imploring the walkers at the bottom of the path to get out of the way I lost concentration on the upcoming stile and slipped as my foot fell on the far foot-plate. I managed to arrest the body-slam but my knee took a lot of the force as it hit the gravel. Bugger, got up and started running again, fairly fast but I could feel the knee hurting. James came past saying we had a bit of a gap but I couldn't push on and Kristian and Tristan (the Springfield guy) came past and gapped me, soon followed by Martin Cliffe from Eryri.
I was in the the lead at some point that was't the start! Closely followed by Kristian, James and Tristan. Photo by ShaunP.
Onto the steep climbs up to Upper Cliffe Farm and Lantern Pike I'd lost it mentally after the fall. The first 3 got away and so did Martin. I hands-on-kneesed up a path I normally run quite easily in training. Once I hit the summit and the rain started to come down I started feeling much better but the damage was done. Thankfully I didn't look behind to see Noel and Mark - whom I normally have the beating of downhill - closing me down, and I managed to finish in 5th place, 1.45 behind Tristan who won, but did manage to get my first win in a Pennine Champs race.

Knees intact. Courtesy ShaunP.
Whilst the fall only affected my running for maybe 500m, the mental impact was quite shocking. I'd like to think I could have stuck with James and battled it out for 3rd as I was feeling pretty good.

Being on the first weekend of Freshers' week I've never been in a state to race the Stanage Struggle (poor, I know). This year I was determined to, and having offered lifts to some of the ShUOC guys there was no-way of getting out of it. Thankfully the 5 hours sleep gave me sufficient recovery time from the dancing and 8+ pints of the previous night (hey, I can still drink!), but the knee was giving me jip. As much as I wanted to race, and probably could have done, albeit with a reduced capacity, I decided the sensible (but in no way hard) thing to do was to heed the knee pain and nurse my slight hangover by taking some photos.

Old Housemate Dave Schorah sets the early pace at Stanage Struggle.
I'm taking it easy now, hoping for a quickly healing knee so I can race at the weekend.


  1. Get some more beers down you young'un. I might have a chance of catching you at some point!

    Well run, though, and I hope the knee has healed completely now.

  2. Congratulations on being 1st Pennine ba ba.
    5 hrs recovery time. Thats even more impressive. Being an old goat mine is now measured in days or weeks.

  3. Hey Nick - good pictures. If possible could i get one of the original images from you. you got a particularly good one of my mate coming in for his sprint finish.

    Hope to see you at the trunces next year, long shot though i guess!